As a personal trainer and weight loss coach, I constantly answer my clients’ health and fitness questions, on social media and in our Start TODAY Facebook Group. In this column, I address some of the most common questions and obstacles that trip people up on their journey to establishing a health and fitness routine.
How long should my workout last?
Many people in our Start TODAY Facebook group are shocked to see that our monthly workout plans only call for a 20 minute workout a day. They often ask me if it’s enough time to see significant changes in their body and make a dent in their weight loss goal. Many of my private weight loss clients also ask me what is the ideal duration for a workout.
First and foremost, I always stress that a little movement is better than no movement. Even five minutes of activity has health benefits! So I advise people against putting a time limit on effective training. It’s a trap that I too often see people fall into. For example, telling yourself that if you can’t walk for 30 minutes, you won’t walk at all, or if you can’t motivate yourself to do that 40-minute bootcamp, it’s not worth doing. practice. .
That being said, the The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. So 30 minutes of moderate exercise, five days a week, is the goal. But for most people, I don’t recommend starting with this goal right off the bat. Instead, gradually work towards a sustainable routine that you’re more likely to stick to.
Lack of motivation ? Start with 5 minutes.
A big part of establishing — and sticking to — a workout routine is mental. Choosing an overambitious workout duration can be intimidating and make it difficult to maintain motivation. Plus, you’ll feel better about yourself, improve your mood, and feel accomplished after just a few minutes of exercise. So I always advise people to start small. That’s why I create so many five-minute workout plans and stretching routines for people to follow. You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel after committing to just five minutes a day, and it’ll help you overcome the biggest hurdle: making exercise a habit. The most effective routine, which will show you results, is the one you stick to consistently. So start there.
Ready to commit to a solid routine? Aim for 20 minutes a day.
If you have the time, I always start my clients at 20 minutes of movement a day. Initially, it doesn’t matter what type of movement: walking, running, yoga, stretching, Pilates, core work, HIIT workouts – it’s all great!
Bite into an exercise goal you can chew — and chew it regularly.
Starting with 20 minutes gives you plenty of time to warm up and push yourself to your maximum effort before you cool down. Ultimately, working up to 30 minutes a day is ideal, but my motto is that slow and steady wins the race! Bite into an exercise goal you can chew — and chew it regularly.
Once you are able to commit to 20 minutes of movement a day consistently for a few weeks, I recommend that you then refine your exercise routine by focusing on your goals. Typically, my clients are stressed out and cling to fat in their midsection. So I recommend choosing a form of exercise that helps them relax. It could be taking a walk, breaking a sweat with a HIIT workout, or having fun doing dance cardio. If toning is the goal, start incorporating 20 minutes of strength training a few days a week.
Once 20 minutes of movement has become a habit, make 30 minutes of strategic exercise your goal.
Once you get into the habit of doing 20-minute workouts, you can start increasing your exercise time to the recommended 30 minutes per day.
Does the thought of committing to 30 minutes a day seem overwhelming? Its good. Following this two-step plan of attack will help you get there. First, start with five minutes a day to prove to yourself that you can usually exercise. Then work on steadily increasing that workout time up to 10 minutes, then 15, and so on. The gradual increase will have you hitting that 30 minute mark in no time. And don’t forget that 3 10-minute walks in the day or 2 weight training sessions of 15 minutes count!